Gulmarg

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Gulmarg
Gauri Marg
Hill station
View of Gulmarg from Gulmarg Gondola
View of Gulmarg from Gulmarg Gondola
Gulmarg is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Gulmarg
Gulmarg
Gulmarg is located in India
Gulmarg
Gulmarg
Coordinates: 34°03′N 74°23′E / 34.05°N 74.38°E / 34.05; 74.38Coordinates: 34°03′N 74°23′E / 34.05°N 74.38°E / 34.05; 74.38
Country India
StateJammu and Kashmir
DistrictBaramulla
Elevation2,650 m (8,690 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total1,965
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN193403

Gulmarg is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in the Baramula district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.[1] The town is situated in the Pir Panjal Range in the western Himalayas.

Ethmology[edit]

Originally called Gauri Marg (गौरी मार्ग) meaning (the path of Devi Gauri), which was later on changed to Gulmarg by Yusuf Shah of Chak Dynasty.[2][3]

History[edit]

Originally called Gauri Marg (गौरी मार्ग) meaning (the path of Devi Gauri) it was renamed to Gulmarg ("meadow of flowers") by Sultan Yusuf Shah of the Chak Dynasty who frequented the place with his queen Habba khatoon in the 16th century.[4][5] Wild flowers of 21 different varieties were collected by the Mughal emperor Jahangir for his gardens in Gulmarg.[4][6] In the 19th century, British civil servants started using Gulmarg as a retreat to escape summers in North Indian plains. Hunting and golfing were their favorite pastime and three golf courses were established in Gulmarg including one exclusively for women.[7][6] One of the golf courses survives and at an altitude of 2,650 metres (8,690 ft) is the world's highest golf course.[7] In 1927, British established a ski club in Gulmarg and two annual ski events were hosted one each during Christmas and Easter.[8][9] Central Asian explorer Aurel Stein also visited Gulmarg during this period.[5]

After the end of London colonial rule, Gulmarg became a part of the independent princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. To ensure the accession of the princely state, Pakistan planned an invasion of the state called Operation Gulmarg. One of the routes used by the invading militia of Pathan tribesmen, armed and supported by Pakistani regular troops, passed through the Haji Pir pass and Gulmarg onto the state capital Srinagar. Gulmarg fell to the invading army, but the Indian army led by the 1 Sikh Regiment, which had been airlifted to Srinagar only after the Dogra ruler of the state Maharaja Hari Singh had signed an Instrument of Accession with India on 26 October 1947, successfully defended the outskirts of Srinagar.[10][11] Thereafter, Indian counterattacks pushed the tribesmen back and many towns including Gulmarg were recaptured.[12] In 1948, Indian Army established a ski school in Gulmarg which later became the High Altitude Warfare School of the Indian army specializing in snow–craft and winter warfare.[13] On 1 January 1949, the war ended under UN supervision and a Ceasefire line (CFL), which was rechristened the Line of Control (LOC) by the Shimla Agreement of 1972,[14] came into being close to Gulmarg.[15]

After Indian Independence, Indian planners sought to develop a destination for Winter sports in India. The Department of Tourism of the Government of India invited Rudolph Matt, in 1960 to select a suitable location for such purpose. Matt zeroed in on Gulmarg as suitable location for development of a Winter sports destination in India. In 1968, Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering was established in Gulmarg to train ski instructors. Over the next decade Indian planners invested 30 million (US$420,000) to transform Gulmarg into a world-class ski destination. Gulmarg became a centre for skiers from Asian nations.[16] In mid-1980s, heli-skiing was introduced in Gulmarg in collaboration with the Swiss skier Sylvain Saudan of Himalaya Heli-Ski Club of France.[9]

Gulmarg in August 1969

In the 1990s, the rise of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir affected tourism in Gulmarg.[16] With the abatement of terrorism in the area, tourism started to recover in late 1990s. Work on the cable car project between Gulmarg and Apharwat Peak, which was commissioned in 1988 by Government of Jammu and Kashmir but was subsequently abandoned due to militancy in 1990, was resumed in 1998. In May 1998, Phase 1 of the project, between Gulmarg and Kongdori, began its commercial operation. In May 2005, Phase 2 of the project was also inaugurated making it one of the longest and highest rope ways of Asia. The chairlift installed as a part of Phase 3 of the project began its operations in 2011. The National Winter Games were held in Gulmarg in 1998, 2004 and 2008.[17] In 2014, Government of Jammu and Kashmir drafted a Master Plan–2032 for Gulmarg. The plan includes development of a solid-waste treatment plant on 20 acres of land close to Gulmarg.[18]

Geology and geography[edit]

Gulmarg lies in a cup shaped valley in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 2,650 m (8,694 ft), 56 km from Srinagar.[7] The soil in Gulmarg comprises glacial deposits, lacustrine deposits and moraines of Pleistocene age covering shales, limestones, sandstones, schists and other varieties of rocks.[19] The natural meadows of Gulmarg, which are covered with snow in winter, allow the growth of wild flowers such as daisies, forget-me-nots and buttercups during spring and summer.[7][4] The meadows are interspersed by enclosed parks and small lakes, and surrounded by forests of green pine and fir.[7] Skiing and other winter sports in Gulmarg are carried out on the slopes of Apharwat peak at a height of 4,267 m (13,999 ft).[9] Many points on Apharwat peak and Khilanmarg offer a panoramic view of Nanga Parbat and Harmukh mountains.[7]

Climate[edit]

Due to its high elevation, Gulmarg has a humid continental climate where the wet winter season sees heavy snowfall, especially for its latitude. Summers are moderate in temperature and length, whereas shoulder seasons are relatively cool.

Climate data for Gulmarg
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.7
(33.3)
1.1
(34)
4.5
(40.1)
10.5
(50.9)
14.9
(58.8)
20.0
(68)
20.6
(69.1)
20.4
(68.7)
18.7
(65.7)
14.2
(57.6)
9.1
(48.4)
4.5
(40.1)
11.6
(52.9)
Average low °C (°F) −7.9
(17.8)
−7.4
(18.7)
−3.6
(25.5)
1.5
(34.7)
5.3
(41.5)
9.3
(48.7)
11.7
(53.1)
11.4
(52.5)
7.9
(46.2)
3.2
(37.8)
−1.2
(29.8)
−5
(23)
2.1
(35.8)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 158.8
(6.252)
223.9
(8.815)
255.8
(10.071)
173.7
(6.839)
149.5
(5.886)
98.0
(3.858)
114.8
(4.52)
104.4
(4.11)
58.0
(2.283)
52.6
(2.071)
52.8
(2.079)
123.4
(4.858)
1,565.7
(61.642)
Source: [20]

Demographics[edit]

At the 2011 Indian census, Gulmarg had a total population of 1,965 over 77 households. Male population in the town stood at 1,957 while there were only eight females and no children between the ages of 0 and 6 years. Gulmarg had an average literacy rate of 99.24%, compared to the state average of 67.16%, of which male literacy was 99.23% and female literacy was 100%. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constituted 0.61% and 0.15% of the population respectively.[21] Gulmarg has few permanent residents with most residents being tourists or those involved in the tourism industry.[7]

Tourism[edit]

The Shiva temple of Gulmarg was previously the royal temple of Dogra kings

According to CNN, Gulmarg is the "heartland of winter sports in India" and was rated as Asia's seventh best ski destination.[22][23] The town is accessible from Srinagar by road via Tangmarg. The road climbs uphill in the last 12 kilometres to Gulmarg passing through forests of pine and fir.[7][4][6] Winter sports like skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing take place on the slopes of Mount Apharwat reachable by a Gondola lift.[9]

Maharani Temple[edit]

Maharani Temple (commonly known as Shiv Temple of Gulmarg) was built by a Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Sisodia for his wife Maharani Mohini Bai Sisodia who ruled till 1915. This temple was considered as the stately possession of Dogra Kings. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. This temple is situated on a slight hill top with greenery. This temple is visible from all corners of Gulmarg.[24]

St Mary's Church[edit]

St Mary's Church in Gulmarg

The Roman Catholic St Mary's Church is located in the valley of Shepherds in Gulmarg.[25][26] It was built in 1902, during the period of British rule, and was constructed in a British style. Made of grey brick with a green roof and decorated wooden interior walls, it has been described as a "Victorian architectural wonder".[27] In 1920 the church saw the wedding of the brother of Bruce Bairnsfather; Miss Eleanor Hardy Tipping married Capt. T. D. Bairnsfather, with newspapers describing the church as "very prettily decorated" and with the service conducted by Rev Canon Buckwell in the presence of both organ and a full choir.[28][29]

St Mary's was closed for years, but was renovated and reopened in 2003, holding its first Christmas service there for 14 years.[30] The church belongs to the Diocese of Amritsar, Church Of North India.

Gulmarg Gondola[edit]

Built by the French company Pomagalski, the Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest in the world reaching 3,979 metres.[31] The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour between Gulmarg and a shoulder of nearby Apharwat Peak (4,200 metres (13,800 ft)). The first stage transfers from Gulmarg at 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) to Kongdoori at 3,080 metres (10,100 ft). The second stage which has 36 cabins and 18 towers, takes passengers to a height of 3,950 metres (12,960 ft) on the Apharwat Peak 4,200 metres (13,800 ft). A chair lift system connects Kongdoori with Mary's shoulder for taking skiers to higher altitude. The high inflow of tourists has had an effect on the fragile eco-system of Gulmarg and activists have demanded tighter regulation to save the environment of the area from over tourism.[32]

An accident occurred on 15 June 2017 due to an enormous pine tree being uprooted by a gust of wind and breaking the perspex windows on one of the gondola cabins, causing it to swing violently and its seven occupants to fall 100 ft (30 m) to the ground.[33]

Sport[edit]

The first national bandy competition is due to take place in Gulmarg in February 2019.[34]

Golf course[edit]

Situated at an altitude of 2,650 m, it is the highest green golf course in the world. The historic Gulmarg Golf Club was started in 1911 by the British who used the place as a holiday resort. The origin of Gulmarg as the golfing centre of India goes back to the late 19th century when a 6-hole course was made in 1890-91 by Colonel Neville Chamberlain. The first golf championship was played at Gulmarg in 1922. The Nedou's Cup was introduced in 1929.

Events[edit]

An annual three-day Gulmarg Winter Festival is held in March. Budding artists in the fields of music, films and photography are given an opportunity to showcase their work during the festival.

Gulmarg in Bollywood[edit]

Gulmarg has been the shooting location many Bollywood films like Bobby, Jab Tak Hai Jaan,[35] Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Highway, Phantom, Haider, etc.[36][37][38][39][40] A scene in Bobby was shot in a hut in Gulmarg that later come to be known as 'Bobby Hut'.[41][42][43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 178.
  2. ^ Kumar, Brajesh (2003). Pilgrimage Centres of India. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. ISBN 9788171821853.
  3. ^ Lovell-Hoare, Max; Lovell-Hoare, Sophie (2014-07-01). Kashmir: Jammu. Kashmir Valley. Ladakh. Zanskar. Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN 9781841623962.
  4. ^ a b c d Chaturvedi, B.K. Tourist Centers Of India. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. p. 82. ISBN 978-81-7182-137-2.
  5. ^ a b "About Gulmarg". Jammu and Kashmir State Cable Car Corporation. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Lovell-Hoare, Sophie; Lovell-Hoare, Max (1 July 2014). Kashmir: Jammu. Kashmir Valley. Ladakh. Zanskar. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 208–11. ISBN 978-1-84162-396-2.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Mitra, Swati (2013). Jammu & Kashmir: Travel Guide. Eicher Goodearth Limited. pp. 30–36. ISBN 978-93-80262-45-1.
  8. ^ Lang, Thomas. "Gulmarg - Kashmir - India" (PDF). Canadian Ski Year Book 1934. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d "Gulmarg". Official Website of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  10. ^ Krishna, Ashok (1998). India's Armed Forces: Fifty Years of War and Peace. Lancer Publishers. pp. 12–15. ISBN 978-1-897829-47-9.
  11. ^ Sarkar, Bhaskar (1 November 2014). "Defence of Srinagar 1947". Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  12. ^ Prasad, Shankar (2005). The Gallant Dogras: An Illustrated History of the Dogra Regiment. Lancer Publishers. pp. 93–97. ISBN 978-81-7062-268-0.
  13. ^ Pandit, Rajat (1 May 2004). "High-altitude warfare school takes global aim". Times of India. New Delhi. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  14. ^ Karim, Afsir (1991). Counter Terrorism, the Pakistan Factor. Lancer Publishers. pp. 142–145. ISBN 978-81-7062-127-0.
  15. ^ Rafiq, Zahid (26 Feb 2009). "Ski respite for war weary Kashmiris". BBC News. Gulmarg. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  16. ^ a b Seth, Pran Nath (1 January 2006). Successful Tourism: Volume I: Fundamentals of Tourism. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. pp. 175–176. ISBN 978-81-207-3199-8.
  17. ^ "About Gondola". Jammu and Kashmir State Cable Car Corporation. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  18. ^ Wani, Arif Shafi (30 May 2014). "Draft Master Plan-2032 for Gulmarg". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  19. ^ Vaidya, Balkrishna C. (1 January 2003). Geography of Transport Development in India. Concept Publishing Company. p. 354. ISBN 978-81-7022-957-5.
  20. ^ "Gulmarg". India Meteorological Department. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  21. ^ "Gulmarg Population Census 2011". Census Commission of India. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  22. ^ "Kashmir ski paradise beckons". CNN.
  23. ^ "Gulmarg rated Asia's seventh best ski resort". Daily Bhaskar.
  24. ^ "Maharani Temple Gulmarg Kashmir".
  25. ^ "St. Mary's Church Gulmarg India Travel Guide | Location | History | about & facts of St. Mary's Church | Gulmarg | Buzzntravel.com". Buzzntravel. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  26. ^ http://www.globalvisiontours.com/. "St Mary Church|tourist attraction in gulmarg". www.globalvisiontours.com. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  27. ^ "St Mary Church - Gulmarg". www.kashmirhills.com. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Wedding at Gulmarg - Bruce Bairnsfather's Brother". The Pioneer Mail. 17 September 1920. p. 38. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  29. ^ Holt, Major Tonie; Holt, Valmai (1995). The Biography of Captain Bruce Bairnsfather: In Search of the Better Ole (2014 ed.). Milestone Publications. ISBN 9781473827233. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  30. ^ "Gulmarg". www.holidaymine.com. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  31. ^ "Gulmarg among 7 top ski resorts in Asia: CNN Int'l". greaterkashmir.com. Greater Kashmir.
  32. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (2011). Tourism pressure on high elevation IBAs. Mistnet 12(1): 11-12.
  33. ^ "Gulmarg Gondola claims 7 lives in tragic accident | K-Line Adventures". K-Line Adventures. 2017-06-26. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  34. ^ [1]
  35. ^ Holiday, the Bollywood way
  36. ^ This is cheating! The Manali in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is actually Gulmarg, fumes Omar on Twitter
  37. ^ "Omar Abdullah disappointed over Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani projecting Gulmarg as Manali". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  38. ^ "Kalki enjoys skiing in Gulmarg". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  39. ^ "Saif goes from Beirut to Gulmarg". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  40. ^ "Outlook Photogallery". outlookindia.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  41. ^ "NDTV Movies". ndtv.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  42. ^ "Kashmir First - The Gulmarg Nostalgia-X". kashmirfirst.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  43. ^ "Movies Filmed in Kashmir". jktourism.org. Retrieved 11 February 2015.